In 1937 the NSW Department of Railways introduced six rail buses to its fleet as an economical form of passenger transport on small branch lines. The concept derived from passenger rail motors, introduced in 1919, which used a traditional timber railway carriage mounted on a converted road truck chassis and drive train. Rail buses took the concept one step further and adapted road vehicle styling, coach building and technology for rail use.
Built by the coach building firm, Waddington Pty Ltd at Camperdown to a design supplied by the Road Motor Branch of the Department of Railways, rail buses were small steel-framed 4-wheeled vehicles, accommodating up to 18 passengers and capable of speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour (80 km per hour). They had a truck chassis and were powered by a Ford V8 side-valve petrol engine with a 4-speed truck-style gear box and two 30 gallon fuel tanks. With their streamlined, rivetted steel body panels, two-tone enamel paint scheme, sliding windows, single entry door, bus-style seats, coach-lining and chrome trim, they resembled Art Deco styled road buses which operated during the 1930s.
The First Fleet - see how the paybuses evolve between 1938 and 1968
The Second Fleet - see how the paybuses evolve between 1968 and 1988